WHAT SHALL WE EAT FOR LUNCH? OR SHOULD WE RATHER SAY: "WHERE SHALL WE EAT?"
Since our last communication in July on the situation of canteens and cafeterias at the Commission, there have been some new developments.
The canteen and cafeteria in CHAR have finally opened, same as for two other cafeterias: L130 and B-28. The cafeteria in G-6 is now open daily since end of September.
Before the end of the year, OIB plans to open the COV2 canteen and cafeterias in DM24, MO59, MADO, J-30, T-22, CDMA, CCAB and PLB3 (provided they have the necessary staff).
However, the great novelty is the CloudKitchen, a new catering service available for certain buildings, in particular those with no canteen or cafeterias. This pilot project consists of an agreement with three catering companies (Foodiz, Eat Casper and Exki ). You can order online and have your lunch delivered to your building. The question that arises is who is employed for the delivery? Is this system marking the end of the Commission’s canteens? Will the internalisation of catering decided by OIB be transformed into a new outsourcing format?
TAO believes that the pilot should include all buildings without a restaurant. Cafeterias have quite frequently little to no real choice at all.
As regards to the many vending machines, and seemingly very often out of order, we have been informed that they will soon be replaced as OIB has recently signed a new contract with a different company.
We are also concerned by the fact that there is no longer a fixed price for a set menu. You now have to pay for each component chosen in your dish. . . For the menu of the day, (published in myintracomm every week), we heard that they often run out, even before 12h30. Colleagues then have no other choice than to go for a salad or another dish, like a grill for instance, both of which are much more expensive.
As regards to prices in cafeterias, we still have not quite understood why the price of bread in the cafeteria is half the price of bread in the canteen when the size does not justify it.
Colleagues complain about the prices that have increased while quality and quantities have fallen significantly. For this reason, many of them prefer to eat in the Parliament or the Council, if not elsewhere because you can find better food for the same price.
To finish, we would remind that when a meal is set at EUR 16, the financial impact is not the same for an AD official as for a contract agent or trainee whose salaries are much lower.
Again, TAO recommends a political change from the administration so that a good and adequate service for staff is put in place and in this direction:
Immediate reopening of at least 1 cafeteria per Directorate-General, or in some cases in the case of a DG nearby, 1 cafeteria for each 1000 employees
More attractive prices, study the possibility to offer a discount for staff with lower salaries
Significant improvement in the quality of meals and adaptation of the quantities served
TAO will continue to follow this issue closely, and calls on our administration to establish, without delay, a sustainable and effective plan that takes into account their staff’s health and well-being as it is done by other international institutions.